For the Soft Matter and Biophysics research group we are looking for a dynamic researcher, interested in developing a measurement platform to investigate the realm of nano-mechanics, nano-scale thermal transport and optical properties of solid-state nano systems, thin molecular layers and nano-bio materials.
The position is intended to lead to award a PhD degree in the framework of an international cooperation between the i-LAMP center at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Brescia, Italy, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Sciences at KU Leuven, Belgium.
The research activity will be carried out both at the Ultrafast LaboratorY for innovative SpectroScopiES (ULYSSES) Lab in Brescia and at the Laboratory for Soft Matter and Biophysics at KU Leuven.
Single Nano-Object Time-Resolved Microscopy Platform
Background and motivation
Heat transfer at the meso/nano-scale is an emerging multidisciplinary topic, at the cross road of physics, engineering and environmental/life sciences, covering both fundamental and technological issues. Research in the field is advancing at tremendous pace driven by the progress in nanomaterial processing and the availability of novel experimental and theoretical tools. The application fields range from non-destructive testing of materials on the nm/um scale, thermo-acoustic metrology of sub-surface embedded nano-structures, to probing mechanical properties of sub-cellular structures and bio-materials in vivo. An important technical progress to develop further this field is the capability of optically investigating a single nanostructure, which is one of the pivotal technique used in modern photonics applications. In particular, the detection of biomolecules or nanostructures at interfaces is of primary importance to develop sensors and to study the important surface-related physics and chemistry of biomolecules and their thermomechanical properties.
The activity will focus on the development of a single nano-object microscopy platform encompassing time-domain capabilities. The platform will be applied to the investigation of single nano-objects (down to sizes in the few nm range) in scenarios where the scientific case requires spatially (sub-µm to 100 µm) and time-resolved (100 femtosecond to 10 nanosecond time resolution)investigations. The platform, once developed, will be applied to investigate the realm of nano-mechanics, nano-scale thermal transport and optical properties of:
-thin molecular layers
The methodology will build further on recently developed experimental setups that make use of photoacoustic, photothermal and optical thermometry approaches that allow to extract thermal, elastic and structural properties with sub-micron spatial and sub-ns time resolution. Recent experimental methods involving the exploitation of marked changes in thermal properties undergoing phase transitions to study biological systems on a molecular level will be further explored. The project is expected to be of technical/scientific impact in the fields of:
-Thermal management(Information and Communication Technology sector)
-Nano Electro-Mechanical System
-Nanoscale,contact-less sensors (mass sensors, gas sensors, nano-mechanical defects detection)
-Investigation of biological samples